Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Premise: A man on the run (Frank Grillo) purposely gets himself arrested and imprisoned in a small-town police station. When a mysterious figure (Gerard Butler) is also placed in lockup, a rookie cop (Alexis Louder) must figure out the two prisoners’ underworld connection.
What Works: Copshop is an effective siege film. Much like John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13, which is very likely an influence on this film, Copshop is about a police officer, played by Alexis Louder, who must join forces with criminals, played by Frank Grillo and Gerard Butler, in order to survive the night. The triangular relationship between them is compelling. The filmmakers put the three characters in a position in which they have to trust each other in order to survive but their alliance is tenuous and conditional, adding to the drama. Grillo and Butler are playing the kind of tough guys that each actor has made a career of but the film gives Butler some moments of self-deprecating humor. Louder is very impressive in Copshop. She’s tough but also empathetic and likable and has charism to spare. Virtually everyone in Copshop is colorful and interesting. Most of the picture takes place in a police station and while some of the officers are standard law enforcement types—the loud, hard-driving sergeant, the corrupt veteran, the idealistic rookie—each officer is distinct in their look and personality. Copshop is also very funny. Some of the humor comes from the officers but Copshop also has an unhinged performance by Toby Huss as a contract killer who breaks the narrative logjam. As an action picture, Copshop has some standout set pieces. The movie does not have the extremely elaborate shoot outs seen in John Wick but it does have a great deal of style especially in its use of color and choreography.
What Doesn’t: Copshop is frequently silly. The movie regularly includes unlikely and implausible scenarios. For some reason, Louder’s character is allowed to carry her personal revolver instead of a department-issued sidearm and she and another officer engage in a game of draw in the office. This is also a movie in which characters get seriously injured only to walk away or pop up in another scene with barely a scratch. Such inconsistencies are commonly found in movies like Copshop but that doesn’t make the storytelling any less sloppy. However, the stylized action, offbeat tone, and compelling characters make these flaws easier to overlook.
DVD extras: None.
Bottom Line: Copshop is an enjoyable action picture. It’s outlandish in the way that these movies frequently are but it’s also fun and has some distinct characters.
Episode: #887 (January 16, 2022)